Update on how ‘The West’ is backing away from data retention

Data retention – EU experience

Country Retention Period Authorisation required to access “metadata” Status of Telecommunications Data Retention Regime
Australia 2 years No judicial oversight. Data retention bill has been introduced into Parliament.
Austria Ruled Unconstitutional
Belgium Between 1 year and 36 months for ‘publically available’ telephone services.No provision for internet-related data. Access must be authorised by a magistrate or prosecutor. Under challenge
Bulgaria 1 year.Data which has been accessed may be retained for a further 6months on request. Access only possible on the order of the Chairperson of a Regional Court Ruled Unconstitutional
Cyprus 6 months Access must be approved by a prosecutor if he considers it may provide evidence of committing a serious crime.A judge may issue such an order if there is a reasonable suspicion of a serious criminal offence and if the data are likely to be associated with it. Ruled Unconstitutional
Czech Republic Ruled Unconstitutional
Denmark 1 year Access requires judicial authorisation; court orders are granted if application meets strict criteria on suspicion, necessity and proportionality Session logging ceased 2014
Estonia Access requires permission of a preliminary investigation judge in force
Finland 1 year Subscriber data may be accessed by all competent authorities without judicialAuthorisation. Other data requires a court order. Under review after the CJEU judgment in April
Germany 1 year Ruled Unconstitutional.No mandatory data retention.In the new Telecommunication Act enacted in 2012 the provisions on data retention were simply deleted and not replaced by a new data retention concept.
Greece 1 year Access requires judicial decision declaring that investigation by other means isimpossible or extremely difficult. Still in force
France 1 year Police must provide justification for each request for access to retained data and must seek authorisation from person in the Ministry of the Interior designated by the Commission nationale de contrôle des interceptions de sécurité. In force
Spain 1 year Access to the data by the competent national authorities requires prior judicialauthorisation. In force
Hungary 6 months for unsuccessful calls and 1 year for all other data Police and the National Tax and Customs Office require prosecutor’s authorisation. Prosecutor and national security agencies may access such data without a court order Further constitutional challenge is being prepared as of April 2014
Italy 2 years for fixed telephony and mobile telephony data,1 year for internetaccess, internet email and internet telephony data Access requires ‘reasoned order’ issued by the public prosecutor. In force
Lithuania 6 months Authorised public authorities must request retained data in writing.For access for pre-trial investigations a judicial warrant is necessary In force
Latvia 18 months Authorised officers, public prosecutor’s office and courts are required to assess ‘adequacy and relevance’ of request, to record the request and ensure protection of data obtained In force
Luxembourg 6 months Access requires judicial authorisation. Under review.Luxembourgish Justice Minister on the day of the CJEU judgment announced that a detailed analysis of possible consequences for the national law will be undertaken.
Malta 1 year for fixed, mobile and internet telephony data,6 months for internet access and internet email data Requests must be in writing – Malta Police Force; Security Service In force
Netherlands 1 year Access must be by order of a prosecutor or an investigating judge Following CJEU judgment it was reported that various parties in parliament have already stated that the data retention provisions should be abolished completely or in part, and further challenges seem likely.
Romania (6 months under the earlier annulled transposing law) Ruled Unconstitutional (twice)
Poland 2 years Requests must be in writing and in case of police, border guards, tax inspectors, authorised by the senior official in the organisation. Under challenge
Portugal 1 year Transmission of data requires judicial authorisation on grounds that access is crucial to uncover the truth or that evidence would be, in any other manner, impossible or very difficult to obtain. The judicial authorisation is subject to necessity and proportional requirements. in force
Slovenia 8 months for internet related and 14 months for telephony related data Access requires judicial authorisation. Ruled Unconstitutional.Ordered that data collected under the data retention law be deleted
Slovakia 12 months, 6 months for Internet services Requests must be in writing. Ceased following judgment of European Court of Justice.Records deleted.
Sweden 6 months Under Challenge by ISPUp to 2013 CJEU challenged Swedish govt for their delay in implementing the Directive due to domestic controversy
UK 1 year Access permitted, subject to authorisation by a ‘designated person’ and necessity and proportionality test, in specific cases and in circumstances in which disclosure of the data is permitted or required by law. DRIP – Under Challenge
Ireland 2 years for fixed telephony and mobile telephony data, 1 year for internet access, internet email and internet telephony data No.Requests to be in writing. Under Challenge
Switzerland[i] Under Challenge
Norway N/A N/A No mandatory data retention regime


  • EU: 11 Member States require judicial authorisation for each request for access to retained data.
  • EU: In 3 Member States judicial authorisation is required in most cases.

Further reading

Collection of resources and commentary on Australia’s data retention bill:

Successful first step in challenging Swiss Data Retention, 2 July 2014, available at: http://sustainability.oriented.systems/challenging-swiss-data-retention/

 European Commission on data retention: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/police-cooperation/data-retention/index_en.htm

Resources relating to communications data retention in the EU: http://wiki.vorratsdatenspeicherung.de/Resources

Evaluation Report on the Data Retention Directive (2011) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2011:0225:FIN:en:PDF

 National legal challenges to the data retention directive: http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/national-legal-challenges-to-data.html

Data retention held unconstitutional in Slovenia: http://www.digitalrights.ie/data-retention-slovenia-unconstitutional/

Boehm & Cole study on data retention after the judgment of the Court of European Justice: http://www.janalbrecht.eu/fileadmin/material/Dokumente/Boehm_Cole_-_Data_Retention_Study_-_June_2014.pdf

Finland must revise its data retention laws: http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/10120-finland-must-revise-its-data-protection-laws.html

In the US:

In Silicon Valley, senator calls for ending American “digital dragnet”: 

Facebook, Google and Apple lobby for curb to NSA surveillance: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/17/facebook-google-apple-lobby-senate-nsa-surveillance


Update on how ‘The West’ is backing away from data retention

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology


Attorney-General’s Department censors public view on piracy. | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1sl0fR5

Can there be copyright in one’s own bottom? And what about a bottom pose? | IPKat | http://bit.ly/1zaQ1YX

Case of Sherlock Holmes copyright closes after US Supreme Court refuses appeal. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1xvmk3E

Belgian and French copyright laws ban photos of certain public buildings. | EU Observer | http://bit.ly/1tFjcD8

Aereo shutting down operations, closing Boston office. | BetaBoston | http://bit.ly/1qrZSnQ

How should the Marrakesh Treaty for the blind & visually impaired be implemented in Australia? The AGD is seeking submissions: http://bit.ly/1AIXGCr

Defamation & media law

Singapore PM wins defamation case against blogger. | SCMP | http://bit.ly/1xvm3xF

Public interest journalism is under attack on multiple fronts. | PIJF | http://bit.ly/1wFzsFj

Responsible use of drones should be exempted from media laws: Goldberg. | JournLaw | http://bit.ly/13XTwIi

George Brandis attempts to reassure reporters – by undermining journalism. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/10EL7XZ

Privacy & information security

The Australian dusts off the “Must resist any move to give a right to sue over privacy” file. |  Open and Shut | http://bit.ly/1yjV8Fi

UK: Police misuse of RIPA “metadata” powers is systemic, MPs told. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1tNDKYI

We don’t have any pre-existing metadata laws: Brandis. | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1yjXmEE

Collection of resources, commentary and analysis on Australia’s controversial data retention bill. | Storify (by me) | http://bit.ly/104A4XJ

British spies are free to target lawyers and journalists. | The Intercept | http://bit.ly/1xdRE8X

Metadata collection comes under fire in new UN draft anti-surveillance resolution. | Gigaom | http://bit.ly/1EaOH9z

The Dads of Tech. | The Baffler | http://bit.ly/1txWlrF

Feds shutter illegal drug marketplace Silk Road 2.0, arrest 26 year-old San Francisco programmer. | Forbes | http://onforb.es/1xgIk3X

New Zealand: censor eyes “global mode” Internet access. | The New Zealand Herald | http://bit.ly/116uZQd

Social media

Facebook: we are being slurped 24% more by government this year. | The Register | http://bit.ly/1GCBfPM

Twitter exec says it’s not about the money. | LA Times | http://lat.ms/1zDgjpG

Saudi lawyers jailed, banned from media over tweets. | Yahoo News | http://yhoo.it/1zaSYIZ

Navigating a world of silos. | Paul Wallbank | http://bit.ly/1uaH0il

9 November 2014

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology


Perth folk: Sunday 2 November you can hear Steve Dalby, Senator Ludlam & Rebecca Giblin discuss copyright at the Disrupted Festival of Ideas. (And it’s free!) 

Google removes results linking to stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence nude. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1yROmtY

Not our kind of club. | iiNet blog | http://bit.ly/1zn0dBC

Australian ISP iiNet takes a stand against copyright trolling by producers of Dallas Buyers Club. | Techdirt | http://bit.ly/1yBcJt0

Judge issues Aereo injunction, stops short of enjoining time shifting. | THR | http://bit.ly/1wz0ETN

The soaring financial costs of blocking pirate sites. | TorrentFreak | http://bit.ly/1zuYPNc

Copyright in the Trans-Pacific Partnership echoes past mistakes. | The Conversation | http://bit.ly/1wz2NPk

Defamation & media law

Offences for disclosing information about covert operations. | Parliament of Australia | http://bit.ly/1pMZ64G

UK: Libel cases prompted by social media postings rise 300% in a year. | The Independent | http://ind.pn/1y8Cq43

Barry Spurr v New Matilda: the facts, the law and the porridge: Richard Ackland. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1DeT8Q9

Australia’s war on whistleblowers must end. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1t9z5BC

Judge ices cake decorators’ defamation case. | SMH | http://bit.ly/1tr129f 

Privacy & information security

Metadata: Privacy Commissioner cannot monitor all those with access.  | The Guardian |  

Calls for urgent reform of metadata access as government reports reveal disparity. | SMH | http://bit.ly/1zuSzVL

Will metadata musings ever mature beyond paranoid fears? – Stilgherrian | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1rDPhq8

Research shows mass surveillance fails drastically in striking balance between costs and benefits to society. | Techdirt | http://bit.ly/1tmKD4m

BBC uses anti-terror spy powers to track down TV licence fee dodgers. | The Daily Mail | http://dailym.ai/12Fqgpc

Website blocking is not internet filtering: Australian government. | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1uHk727

The Sky is Rising: Data shows wealth of opportunities for digital content. | DiSCo Project | http://bit.ly/1uKcdVE 

UK: Internet service providers must help crack down on fake goods, High Court rules. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1CMD4F8

NZ: Why Gigatown is not a waste of money. | Bill Bennett | http://bit.ly/ZS3Pv4

Social media

Trolls, threats, the law and deterrence. | Paul Bernal | http://bit.ly/1rDTWZs

The labourers who keep dick pics and beheadings out of your Facebook feed. | Wired | http://wrd.cm/10qAzwi

Ferrari hit with lawsuit for taking over Facebook fan page. | Ars Technica | http://bit.ly/1ziSLHw

26 October 2014

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology


One of the big news items in IP this past week was Wikileaks’ leak of the Intellectual Property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Some of the analysis:

  • Leak of controversial TPP IP Chapter shows US still pushing for draconian copyright provisions. | Australian Digital Alliance | http://bit.ly/1pqdSOp

  • New leak of TPP consolidated text on intellectual property provides details of pandering to drug companies and publishers. | KEI | http://bit.ly/1sXFRKr

And a reminder: Andrew Robb to host TPP Trade Ministers’ meeting in Sydney 25 – 27   negotiations to include intellectual property provisions.

Round and round like a skipping record: Australia’s FTA IP negotiations under fire. Again. | Australian Digital Alliance | http://bit.ly/1CF1GPU

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, the world’s leading resource for DMCA enforcement transparency, has been revamped: http://bit.ly/1sXtGNA

Gold Coast film convention told movie pirates put a *million* Aussie jobs at risk. | Gold Coast Bulletin |   (And piracy will soon be a “mortal sin” ….)

Defamation & media law

 British police’s use of Ripa powers to snoop on journalists to be reined in. | The Guardian |  

Five reasons terror laws wreck media freedom and democracy. | The Conversation |  http://bit.ly/1rlewMQ

The links between Hollywood, Heat and the Irish High Court. | The Irish Times | http://bit.ly/ZAGrlx

Journalists have no choice but to fight back, because if they don’t they will become irrelevant.  

Privacy & information security

iiNet on Data Retention: “Not Necessary or Proportionate”. | Gizmodo | http://bit.ly/1oilVSL

Abbott government data storage plans lack privacy safeguards, says iiNet. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1sjdSVu

Brandis’ callousness on data retention beggars belief. | Business Spectator | http://bit.ly/1vVKe9x

In Silicon Valley, senator calls for ending American “digital dragnet”. | Ars Technica |  

Excellent (frightening) podcast on data retention with Senator Ludlam, John Lindsay and John Stanton | Cross Talk – Phil Dobbie |  

Privacy advocates say Australia going further than anyone else on data retention. | The Guardian |  

Electronic mass surveillance fails—drastically. | Just Security | http://zd.net/1CEVVSf

Top tech execs: end mass surveillance to boost digital economy. | The United States Committee on Finance | http://1.usa.gov/1sC1Ipb 

UN report finds mass surveillance violates international treaties and privacy rights. | The Intercept | http://bit.ly/1u4zlOg

The FBI Director’s evidence against encryption is pathetic. | The Intercept | http://bit.ly/1sQWgQP

The state wants to spy on us but is it up to the job? | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1qT3r6t

American website Intercept reveals secret activities of Australian spy agency. | SMH | 

Who wants to be forgotten? |   | http://bit.ly/1y5Klir

Asylum seekers’ personal details stolen in second immigration data breach. | The Guardian |  

The best part of the documentary ‘Citizen Four’: Snowden’s coming out week. | Forbes | http://onforb.es/1wAujf8

Chicago’s smart city: from open data to rat control. | ZDNet |  http://zd.net/1CEVVSf

Women in computing: the 60s pioneers who lit up the world of coding. | The Guardian | 

Australia’s most powerful women in technology. | Women’s Agenda | http://bit.ly/1whbQnZ

The dark market for personal data. | The New York Times | http://nyti.ms/ZAIbLp

#Gamergate shows tech needs far better algorithms. | TechCrunch | http://tcrn.ch/ZKyydz

Egg freezing: a sign your workplace is a dystopian hell-hole. | Hunt Gather Love | http://bit.ly/1qTdVCN

Episode 576: When women stopped coding. | NPR | http://n.pr/1wqijyS

Social media

“Twitter is not just a timeline” What’s wrong with Twitter’s latest experiment with broadcasting favorites, by . | Medium | http://bit.ly/1nsi44H

LinkedIn sued for furnishing reference reports on users. | The Recorder | http://bit.ly/1DoouFV

First court date set in case to ban Twitter and Facebook in Egypt. | Mada Masr | http://bit.ly/1pqijc4

Mastercard to access Facebook user data. | SMH| http://bit.ly/1sXDreN

Can Ello get by on a manifesto and a smiley? | ZDNet | http://zd.net/ZrFDj5

To reach China, LinkedIn plays by local rules. | The New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1q0r9wo

Not on a social network? You’ve still got a privacy problem. | Wired | http://wrd.cm/1yHb1tW

113-year-old woman lies about her age to get a Facebook account. | Metro UK | http://bit.ly/1D7uN0k

19 October 2014

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology

Less than two weeks to get your tickets to The Privacy Workshop, Federation Square, 17 October, Melbourne:  https://privacy.electronworkshop.com.au


Grooveshark loses copyright infringement case, but breaks no new legal ground. | LA Times | http://lat.ms/1EeREbK

Andrew Robb to host TPP Trade Ministers’ meeting in Sydney 25 – 27   negotiations to include intellectual property provisions.

Committee report on Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement was  presented to the Senate this week:  ISP liability and the iiNet case discussed at pp 41-3.

On the trail of an online pirate. | The New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1s1greL

Defamation & media law

Freedom on information may cost $800 as Coalition seeks to abolish regulator. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1rWedge

Telling tales of terror. | ABC’s Media Watch | http://ab.co/1mG8mv1

National security laws ‘strike at the heart of press freedom’. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1rpEHb0

Privacy & information security

Just the facts? This dossier goes further. |  New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1BFU27l

The Right to be Forgotten: Not an Easy Question: Frank Pasquale. | TechPolicy | http://bit.ly/1yESuP0

Librarians won’t stay quiet about government surveillance. | Washington Post | http://wapo.st/1tpbatz

Naked photo sparks row at Sydney University. | SMH | http://bit.ly/1tpcAV3

The women who tech forgot. The Innovators. |  The New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1n4nTFn

Unlocking the geo-block: Australians embrace VPNs. | The Conversation | http://bit.ly/1vG0s6G

The NSA & me: James Bamford. | The Intercept | http://bit.ly/1yBiavF

The Geek chorus: ‘Give Mark Zuckerberg all the data he wants’. | The Register | http://bit.ly/1s1gozx

Social media

Peter Nunn jailed for abusive tweets to MP Stella Creasy (UK). | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1tbzWxt

Let slip the doges of war: Senator Ludlam calls for a meme protest of data retention laws. | CNET | http://cnet.co/1rR7LaO -> http://stopdataretention.tumblr.com/

Some judicial opinions only require 14o characters. | The New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1BFU27l

Celebrity vloggers are good for your brand: Richenda Vermeulen. | AFR | http://bit.ly/1xbHkg8

5 October 2014

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology


Dear Rupert. | Google Policy Europe | http://bit.ly/1uTe7os

Harper review recommends scrutiny of trade agreement IP clauses. | ComputerWorld | http://bit.ly/1ruHRZL

Slamming Netflix backdoors will not help local streamers. | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1onXfTb

Creative Commons Information Pack. | National Copyright Unit | http://bit.ly/1iCgXbd

Defamation & media law

Defamation law reminds critics of Indonesia’s past. | New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1qJf6DM

Man wrongly identified by Fairfax Media as terrorism suspect might sue. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/YxwS64

Privacy & information security

The Privacy Workshop, Federation Square, 17 October: https://privacy.electronworkshop.com.au

Round-up of commentary on data retention following Friday’s Senate hearing chaired by Senator Ludlam: http://bit.ly/1t1iDit

Senators’ ignorance on surveillance laws is not bliss. | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1wPaQrL

France adopts anti-terror laws eroding civil liberties. | La Quadrature Du Net | http://bit.ly/1CxfRIP

Eight ways Tony Abbott is trying to trade freedom for security. | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1Cxj4YM

‘Communications Surveillance, Big Data and the Law’.  | UNSW Law  Journal |  

BitTorrent adds paygate to its direct-to-fan publishing platform Bundle. | TNW | http://tnw.co/YuRZGA

Competition review supports tackling Australia tax. | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1vpojXc

16-Year-Old Irish girls win Google Science Fair 2014 with world-changing crop yield breakthrough. | Inhabitat | http://bit.ly/1CiUgUi

Website blocking scheme not a filter, Comms Dept says. | ComputerWorld | http://bit.ly/1Cxj4YM

Social media

Russia asks Facebook, Google, Twitter to comply with law on data storage. | The Moscow Times | http://bit.ly/1rsVpnj

Social media’s difficult adolescence. | Paul Wallbank | http://bit.ly/1vochfC

Report on the use of electronic devices in the House of Representatives Chamber and Federation Chamber. | APH | http://bit.ly/ZiKl33

28 September 2014

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology


Economists: consumers will suffer under copyright crackdown. | IT News | http://bit.ly/1q7SMDs

Ministerial, working level TPP talks eyed in Australia in October. | GlobalPost | http://bit.ly/1BNhWQj

iiNet rejects Village piracy claim. | AFR | http://bit.ly/1tP3dj1

Village Roadshow fails Turing Test. | ZDNet | http://zd.net/Z4ifbR

Defamation & media law

 Are bloggers ‘journalists’? New Zealand’s High Court says yes.  | The Conversation | http://bit.ly/1qJAgaz

Government to appoint Children’s e-Safety Commissioner. | Minister for Communications | http://bit.ly/Z4ixiV

Journalists may face prison under proposed new Australian anti-terror laws. | WAN IFRA  | http://bit.ly/1tL4vhf 

Privacy & information security

Text-inspectors. Andrew O’Hagan on No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald. | London Review of Books | http://bit.ly/1sOy9hz

The murky moves toward metadata retention. | The Saturday Paper | http://bit.ly/XTi8yx

Sydney dawn counter-terrorism raids: why now, and why so few answers? | The Guardian | http://bit.ly/1tKIsYc

Swedish ISP urges European Commission to end ‘illegal data retention’. | PC World | http://bit.ly/1ur6zJb

UNHCR: Joint statement on privacy in the digital age. | IFEX | http://bit.ly/1DqgaX5

A World From Below episode on Pine Gap (Australia) the role it plays in the drone war & mass surveillance:  http://bit.ly/1mu2SE5

The Internet isn’t killing media anymore. It’s helping it make a killing in profits. | Washington Post | http://wapo.st/1s4XWHI

Silicon Valley has officially run out of ideas. | Slate | http://slate.me/X8NkJJ

Why big data evangelists should be sent to re-education camps: Stilgherrian | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1r54i7D

Study: Cities with super-fast Internet are more productive. | Washington Post | http://wapo.st/1p7KEDF

Social media

Social media: beat the journos, don’t say anything stupid. | The Mandarin | http://bit.ly/1qW8doB

The Twitter Government and Elections Handbook (US 2014 edition). | Twitter | http://bit.ly/1s7makH

Tweet and destroy: Australian spies track terror threats on social media. | The Age | http://bit.ly/ZyKdMD

21 September 2014

MsLods’ news round-up: law + technology